Healthy Foods in the Schools: Kale!

“I didn’t think I’d like it but I tried it and I did.”
“This is sooooo good. You should serve this in the schools.” [as a menu option]
“It looks like green barf, but I’m going to try it anyway.” [For the record, that kid liked it too]

Take six school cafeterias, one energetic guest chef, about 2,800 hungry elementary school children, and lots and lots of kale, and mix together. What do you get? Lots of tasting, laughter, and funny quotes like the above.

Healthy Waltham’s partnership with the Waltham Public Schools is building enthusiasm for new healthy foods in school cafeterias. Healthy Waltham’s Chef Reva is back for the “Fresh! Chef-to-School” program visiting all elementary schools with new recipes for kids to try. Students around Waltham are enjoying the latest culinary adventure: kale smoothies and kale-citrus salad!

Healthy Waltham plans to continue our Healthy Foods in Schools program (which includes the “Fresh! Chef-to-School” visits) in the 2016-2017 school year and expand it to include Waltham’s two middle schools. We would also like to expand our garden-to-table program that shows kids how vegetables and herbs grown in school gardens can be used in tasty dishes.

But to do this, we need your support! Please vote for us from now through May 27 in the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation’s Waltham Charitable Giving Program if you are a Waltham resident.

You can also support us by a donation or sponsorship! Click here to learn more. Thank you!

For more photos, check out our photo gallery and read more in the Waltham News Tribune article published earlier this year.

SAM_0451

Vote for Healthy Waltham

We need your vote! Healthy Waltham was recently selected by the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation to participate in a grant opportunity for up to $10,000. The top five organizations selected by your vote will receive funding. Will you take a moment to show your support for healthy kids with a vote for Healthy Waltham?

Please click on the link below to vote NOW UNTIL MAY 27Note: you do not need to be a bank customer, but you do need to be a Waltham resident. You can vote once per device, so vote from your computer and phone!

Click HERE to vote

Please read this letter from Executive Director Pam Hess about the need we are addressing to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Dear Friends,

While other communities in Massachusetts have been able to slow, or even reduce, childhood obesity rates, Waltham’s rate has been rising, and remains at over 40% of school children overweight or obese. This weight epidemic puts Waltham youth at risk.

Obesity is the result of multiple factors that affect our community: limited access to affordable healthy foods, lack of knowledge and motivation to cook and eat healthier, time to exercise, or lack of community and environmental support that make healthy lifestyles more difficult. These are just some of the many issues that Healthy Waltham works to improve.

If awarded a grant, we will to use this funding to continue our work with the Waltham Public Schools, including our “Fresh! Chef-to-School Visits” with Chef Reva, and our garden-to-table programming that teaches kids about gardening and eating healthy fruits and vegetables. Working together, we hope to expand our efforts in Waltham to make the healthy choice the easy choice for all.

So please l take a moment to give us your vote between now and May 27. And help us even more by spreading the word to your friends.

Thank you very much for your support.

Sincerely,

Pam

From Seed to Plate

Did you know that adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health? Click here to vote for Healthy Waltham in the Seeds of Change grant program from March 31-April 18, 2016. If selected, we could receive funding for our garden to table education programming! Funding would support coordination of resources to support community and school gardens in Waltham and our healthy eating programs. Thanks for supporting us!

Since 2007, Healthy Waltham has established and supported school and community gardens across Waltham. We work to strengthen understanding of the connection between growing vegetables, eating healthy foods, and health. Learning gardens offer exciting spaces to teach appreciation of the Earth and where our food comes from, as well as outlets for healthy physical activity.

Healthy Waltham conducts hands-on programming that teaches community members about preparing healthy dishes, using locally grown produce that is either donated or harvested from learning gardens when possible. Our chef instructor makes eating healthy foods fun by teaching ways to prepare local, seasonal produce and simple ingredients. We find that children are much more likely to eat a vegetable when they have had a hand in growing or preparing it. Our goal is to encourage and motivate children and adults to adopt healthy habits that can improve their health.

Healthy Waltham also works with teachers to develop curriculum connections and garden to table learning experiences for children in elementary and middle schools. Check out the photos from our summer school program at McDevitt Middle School here.

See more about our Waltham gardens we help to coordinate here.

St. Paddy’s Day at GWArc

Hearty Soup, Irish Soda Bread and a Green Smoothie made up our yummy St. Patrick’s Day menu at the Greater Waltham Arc (GWArc). GWArc serves children, adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, offering a variety of programs, services and supports which maximize independence, foster inclusion, promote self-advocacy and build community connections. These cooking classes are a great way to introduce healthy eating habits and have some fun! Chef Reva’s popular healthy cooking club at GWArc is held over several evenings; a daytime healthy snack program is also offered. Enjoy these recipes from our most recent class for you to try at home.

20160317_180400Leek and Potato Soup with Kale

Irish Soda Bread

Chocolate Mint smoothie

serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • ¼ fresh mint, tightly packed
  • 1 avocado
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup kale leaves or baby spinach
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey or sugar
  • 2 cups ice
  • green food coloring, if desired

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a strong blender.
  1. Blend until smooth; thin with water to reach desired consistency. If too thin, add more ice.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

1 cup per serving, 1 serving contains: Calories (kcal) 157, Fat (g) 13

Saturated Fat (g) 7, Cholesterol (mg) 0, Carbohydrates (g) 12

Dietary Fiber (g) 3, Total Sugars (g) 6, Protein (g) 2, Sodium (mg) 11

Waltham Schools Get Healthy

We are delighted to announce our new partnership with the Waltham Public Schools, “Fresh! Chef to School visits,” which introduces students to healthy, tasty new foods in Waltham cafeterias. Please see our article for the Waltham News Tribune here (full text also below) to learn about this program. Check out more photos here.

A Fresh Perspective – Program at Waltham Schools Touts Healthy Food

“I never thought eating healthy could be so much fun and taste so good,” said a Stanley Elementary school student after Healthy Waltham’s Chef visited her school.

Waltham elementary students are learning about the importance of eating healthy foods through a new collaborative program at school. Healthy Waltham and the Waltham Public School Nutrition Department are teaming up on a new program called “Fresh! Chef to School Visits.” Waltham Food Services Director, April Liles, says of the program, “We’re thrilled to be working with Healthy Waltham to promote healthy eating habits and introduce healthy new foods in a kid-friendly way.”

Healthy Waltham’s traveling chef, Reva Haselkorn, will visit all six Waltham elementary schools twice this winter and spring to prepare a healthy dish with the cafeteria staff. Students will get to try a sample of the dish during lunch period. Some of the dishes planned will feature cranberries, beans, squash and fresh herbs. Kids will be encouraged to try new foods, and also understand how fruits and vegetables are “the fuel that our bodies need to run properly,” says Liles. “We hope they will learn nutrition concepts they will use in their every day lives.”

The culinary adventure program kicked off with chef visits to the Whittemore and Stanley Elementary Schools. Kids were excited to see a special display table with food samples, posters, and balloons. “We are excited to help Waltham youth experience something new and good for them. With 2,800 elementary school children in Waltham, the program will have a far reach across the community, ” says Healthy Waltham’s Executive Director, Pam Hess.

The first samples students tried included a healthy granola with dried cranberries. “Cranberries add sweetness and are packed with Vitamin C. We were ecstatic when our school meals program got dried cranberries through the USDA commodities program. We know not all students have tried them so we thought it would be fun to come up with different recipes that feature cranberries,” said Liles.

Chef Reva encouraged kids to keep an open mind to different foods. “Trying new foods is a great way to make healthy eating fun and find new favorite dishes, but sometimes it takes a few tries before you like something,” she said. “If you don’t like something, remember not to ‘yuck someone else’s yum’ – no saying yucky.” Judging from the way kids at Whittemore and Stanley gobbled up the cranberry granola, there were more “yums” than “yucks.” All kids trying the cranberries received “I tried it!” stickers.

Kids learned a few new things about the cranberries too, such as that most cranberries are grown in Massachusetts, they grow in swampy areas called bogs, and they can be eaten in salads, baked goods, oatmeal, and served with vegetables.

Fact sheets on the featured menu items and the “Fresh! Chef to School Visits” are being sent home to elementary school parents. “We think this program is great and want parents to know about it too,” says Liles. “They can talk about different foods with their kids and try them at home. Our hope is that children will discover a world of healthy, delicious food choices that will sustain them through a healthy, active life. We want parents to be on board to reinforce good habits at home.”

“Waltham’s kids need healthy diet and exercise to do their best work, so we’re very excited to introduce the “Fresh! Chef to School Visits” program. We are looking forward to a continued partnership with the Waltham Public Schools,” said Hess. “We love having Healthy Waltham visit,” said Whittemore Assistant Principal Stephen Duffy. “They really know our kids, the kids look forward to seeing them, and the message is great.”

More about Healthy Waltham: Founded in 2003, Healthy Waltham promotes healthy eating and active living opportunities to Waltham residents through healthy cooking and gardening, physical activity and involvement in natural open space within the community. Healthy Waltham focuses on serving the most vulnerable populations: families with young children, recent immigrants, low income residents and seniors. We engage people through cooking classes, food demonstrations and gardening, walking clubs, and collaborations around healthy living. We go directly to where people are already gathered, making it easy for them to participate.

To learn more about Healthy Waltham, visit, www.healthy-waltham.org, We can be reached via email at info@healthy-waltham.org. Healthy Waltham is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.